Andy Murray is out the Davis Cup quarter-final
The world No.1 is suffering with a virus and an elbow injury that ruled him out of this week’s Miami Open.
It is a major blow to GB captain Smith, with France able to include two singles players inside the world’s top 25. But in Edmund, he may have a secret weapon.
The 22-year-old is unusual among British players in that his favourite surface is clay and he stepped up impressively in Murray’s absence from the team against Serbia last summer, winning both singles rubbers.
Andy Murray will be forced to miss the Davis Cup quarter-finals
Kyle Edmund has to step up for Great Britain in the absence of Andy Murray
Edmund, now ranked 45th in the world, was No.67 then, but beat former top-10 regular Janko Tipsarevic and Dusan Lajovic without dropping a set.
Edmund will be joined by Dan Evans in the singles, while Jamie Murray will pair with Dom Inglot for th doubles in Rouen from April 7 to 9.
Smith said: “This is a team with significant Davis Cup experience now and these guys have all stepped up and delivered performances at the very top of the competition.
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“Not having Andy in the side is obviously a big loss to our team and facing France in a Davis Cup tie is a tough test for any group of players. They have the strongest depth of squad by far out of any nation in the competition.”
France captain Yannick Noah named Lucas Pouille, Gilles Simon, Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his team.
The hosts are missing the injured Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet, who is recovering from an appendix operation, as well as new father Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
But, in Pouille and Simon, they can still call on players ranked 15 and 25 respectively, while Mahut and Herbert are the reigning Wimbledon champions.